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Monday, 27 September 2021

U.S. Dept. of Justice to investigate Minneapolis police

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U.S. Dept. of Justice to investigate Minneapolis police
U.S. Dept. of Justice to investigate Minneapolis police

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland on Wednesday announced he's launched a federal investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department, probing whether it engaged in a "pattern or practice" of unlawful or discriminatory behavior.

The announcement comes after a jury found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd.

But Garland said that alone did not solve the problem of abusive policing.

"Yesterday's verdict in the state criminal trial does not address potentially systemic policing issues in Minneapolis," the attorney general said.

The Justice Department's civil investigation would probe the Minneapolis police department for its use of force, training, disciplinary practices and how it responds to public protests.

If the Justice Department found what Garland described as a "pattern or practice of unconstitutional or unlawful policing," the DoJ could bring a civil lawsuit demanding the police department change its ways.

Such lawsuits frequently result in settlements known as "consent decrees," amounting to federal oversight of local police.

Consent decrees were a hallmark of how the Justice Department sought to rein in police departments embroiled in allegations of civil rights abuses under President Barack Obama, but were largely discarded or abandoned under President Donald Trump.

"Building trust between community and law enforcement will take time and effort by all of us," Garland said.

"But we undertake this task with determination and urgency knowing that change cannot wait."

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